Interest groups spent a record $4.2 billion in 2023 to lobby federal lawmakers, led by the pharmaceutical and health products industries. According to a new report from OpenSecrets.
According to the D.C.-based nonprofit that tracks money in politics, “health care companies spent more than any other sector in 2023, and federal lobbying spending topped $739 million for the year.”
The health care industry is also the top spender at the state level, according to the report, “continuing a trend that began in 2019.”
The single largest lobbying group was the US Chamber of Commerce, which spent $69 million on federal lobbying in 2023. The second place was taken by the National Association of Realtors with 52 million dollars. But both groups spent significantly less than in 2022, with the National Association of Realtors leading the way at $82 million, followed by the Chamber of Commerce at $81 million.
Lobbying in the states
In an era of congressional gridlock, many lobbyists have focused on lobbying state legislators, the report said. In recent years, according to OpenSecrets, many of the actions on hot-button issues such as abortion, guns and gambling have been moved to state capitals.
Total estimated government lobbying spending was $1.4 billion in 2015, rising steadily year over year to $1.8 billion in 2022.
Total federal and state spending in 2023 is down to $5.6 billion from a record $5.9 billion in 2022.
But lobbyists at the state and federal levels reported spending more than $46 billion since 2015, according to an OpenSecrets analysis.
“It’s nothing short of amazing to see that $45 billion has been spent on lobbying at both the state and federal levels since 2015,” said Executive Director Hilary Braseth.
OpenSecrets has launched a new tool that allows members of the public follow the money spent on federal and state lobbying.